An interview with Pawan Agarwal, Director, NK Realtors
NK Realtors is a Kolkata-based real estate agency that offers a one-of-a-kind end-to-end solution for developers. As India’s largest vertically integrated real estate service provider, they pursue higher levels of customer satisfaction and sales through trust and relationships. Their customer base of 35000 families would agree. In 2018, NK Realtors partnered with worxogo to impact sales by targeting behavior change in their sales team. We chatted with Mr. Pawan Agarwal, Director, to find out his sales strategy and the impact of Mia on driving sales team behavior. NK Realtors is the first real estate company to use AI and behavior science to boost their sales teams’ efforts.
Can you tell us a little about your business and the real estate industry in Kolkata?
Our organization has been around for about 30 years in Kolkata’s real estate market. We are one of the largest players in terms of residential sales in Kolkata and sell around 3000 apartments every year.
Around ‘97-‘98, the real estate market had become very disorganized. In response to this, we came out with the concept of ‘a complete end-to-end solution’ for developers – right from conceiving a product, creating a marketing plan, and launch plan, to looking after the entire pre-sales, sales, and post-sales. You could say we were the pioneers of this concept. Even today, in big cities like Bangalore, Pune, Gurgaon, and Hyderabad, this concept is still at a very nascent stage. And we started this in Kolkata 20 years back.
What are the challenges associated with selling a high-value product like real estate?
Many real estate marketing organizations still sell real estate like any other product. But real estate is one of the most important buying decisions in any person’s life. I always say to my salespeople that buying a first home or property is the second most important decision in anybody’s life after marriage. So it must be met with that amount of hospitality, that amount of trust, that amount of empathy and care, in terms of the information given and in terms of understanding the requirements. We need that type of connection with our buyers, whether in Kolkata or any other part of India or in the world. That is the biggest challenge.
How do you make your team more customer-oriented?
In terms of giving the right information, we do a lot of training, compliance, and audits on our people, to make sure that they give absolutely transparent and honest information about the projects. From booking till the completion of the project, we ensure our sales teams give customers a lot of updates and information about the project on a regular basis to make this entire process is a trustworthy journey with us. We also use a lot of technology; we use technological innovations to make our people more aware, more customer-friendly and more accepting to improve the overall consumer experience.
What specific behaviors were you trying to inculcate in your sales team when you decided to partner with worxogo?
We were dealing with challenges like reducing the turnaround time on leads and timely follow-ups as far the customer experience was concerned. In real estate, we are more inclined to meet the customer physically. It is very important to meet as many of the prospects or leads getting generated in the system, to be able to understand individual requirements better and for better-qualified referrals. For that, you need to have a real, personal relationship. And so, to increase our face-to-face interaction (in terms of percentage of leads) to a very high level, we felt using behavior changing persuasive technology was the right way to go.
Can you tell us more about how you used technology and behavior science in your sales teams?
The first time I heard about using persuasive technology and behavior science in sales was when I met with Ramesh (CEO, worxogo). For me, it was an absolutely new thing, learning about worxogo’s technology. I realized that the competitive environment that the application renders, wherein good efforts are rewarded and the lack of effort can be seen by all, wherever you are on the ladder, was a great idea and would bring about behavior changes in time to come. I believed that ultimately if those behavior changes became net positive, our results would also improve. That’s how we started with the application.
What has been the impact of worxogo’s application/Mia so far?
We are seeing a lot of changes in the quality efforts being made now. So that is a good sign. We feel that if the first nine steps are right, then the tenth step of the sale will automatically happen. So, broadly there’s been a significant improvement on the behavioral aspects that were our pain points. (Editor’s note: Since NKR’s engagement with Mia, their sales team has established contact with twice as many interested customers in a shorter period of time. They’ve also doubled their effort in helping customers with documentation and timely follow-ups reducing complaints by 50% – data by worxogo)
What is your biggest learning that you would like to share with other leaders?
My advice to all the organizations in all sectors is to focus on innovation, data analytics, and technology. A while ago I read that if we don’t embrace these three things – innovation, data analytics, and technology – then we will not be able to compete in the respective sectors that we are in. With the amount of competition and new ideas coming from youngsters, if we don’t focus on these three things, we will certainly be out of those sectors in a very short span of time.